DOT Inspector General Auditing Controls of FAA's STARS

The audit will assess FAA's identification and mitigation of security risks in STARS and determine whether its contingency planning limits the effects caused by the loss of STARS operations at large Terminal Radar Approach Control facilities during emergencies.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Inspector General has opened an audit of the security controls of FAA's Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System, known as STARS, which is considered critical to achieving the expected benefits of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), including enhanced capacity and reduced delays. FAA has modernized the automated systems that air traffic controllers rely on to manage air traffic near airports by installing STARS at 11 large terminal radar approach control (TRACON) air traffic facilities.

The IG's office announced Feb. 27 that the audit will assess FAA's identification and mitigation of security risks in STARS and determine whether its contingency planning limits the effects caused by the loss of STARS operations at large TRACON facilities during emergencies.

Those facilities guide aircraft approaching and departing from airports within a 40-mile radius and up to 10,000 feet. To enable air traffic controllers in these facilities to communicate with thousands of aircraft each day, FAA must sustain the integrity and availability of TRACON systems and data; the IG is auditing FAA's information technology security controls for large consolidated TRACON facilities.

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